Lincoln Memorial

Top choice monument in National Mall

Image by Jeff Turner Five Hundred Pixels

Anchoring the Mall's west end is the hallowed shrine to Abraham Lincoln, who gazes across the Reflecting Pool beneath his neoclassical, Doric-columned abode. The words of his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural speech flank the huge marble statue on the north and south walls. On the steps, Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famed 'I Have a Dream' speech; look for the engraving that marks the spot (it's on the landing 18 stairs from the top).

Be sure to visit the lower level museum, featuring interesting displays about Lincoln’s life and times, and a video history of the many protests that have taken place here.

At the time of research, the memorial was undergoing a several-year renovation, which will expand the museum and open up the underground vault to the public for the first time. The memorial is still open to the public, though some access is limited.